Credit Spotlight: Maintainability
Designing and constructing a green building is only half of the sustainability equation. The other half is whether the building is managed and maintained to the intended sustainability standards.
The ‘Maintainability’ credit (Man-11) within the ‘Management’ category aims to encourage building design that supports and minimises ongoing maintenance throughout a building’s lifecycle.
A number of more recent Green Star rating tools, including the Green Star – Education v1 and Green Star – Healthcare v1 rating tools, feature the ‘Maintainability’ credit.
Points are awarded when a qualified facilities manager is engaged at the earliest stages of the Green Star design process, and submits a design review which considers ongoing operational and maintenance issues. The facility manager is asked to consider issues such as the modularity and standardisation of fittings and fixtures, and the ability to clean, replace and repair equipment such as lighting.
“All too often maintainability is focussed on the high technical requirements of the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic plant and equipment, with little thought on the requirements of more static elements such as easy cleaning of surfaces, floor finishes and the like,” says Peter Lowndes, Green Star Accredited Professional on the University of NSW’s Tyree Energy Technology Building.
By collaborating with the facilities management team, the design team was able to make changes “to material selections and equipment layout that satisfied both system designers and the facilities management team that will maintain the equipment on a day-to-day basis.” In this case, the Man-11 credit contributed to the project’s 6 Star Green Star – Education Design v1 rating.
The RMIT Swanston Academic Building project in Melbourne, which achieved a 5 Star Green Star – Education Design v1 rating, was also awarded the ‘Maintainability’ credit.
“By engaging with the facilities management team at the earliest stage of the design process, we were able to explore potential maintenance challenges from the outset,” explains AECOM’s Shu-Hsin Soong, who was the Green Star Accredited Professional on the project.
In particular, the facilities manager recommended that the quantity of individually-controllable DALI ballasts in the project were minimised. There was a preference for standard electronic ballasts, as they cost less and were quicker to replace.
“By working together, we were able to come to a design solution that used both types of ballasts appropriate to lighting control functionality required. We were able to explain the benefits of the individually-controlled system and at the same time, we were able to revise our design to better serve the way the facilities management team would maintain the lighting,” Shu-Hsin explains.
In both cases, the result is a better building. By being part of the design team, the facilities manager can ensure that design professionals deliver innovative, yet practical, building systems solutions that can be easily maintained well into the future.
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